Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.” St Francis is wrongly quoted as saying “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”
In fact the closest match in Francis’s writings is probably found in his Rule of 1221, Chapter XII on how the Franciscans should practice their preaching:
“No brother should preach contrary to the form and regulations of the holy Church nor unless he has been permitted by his minister … All the Friars … should preach by their deeds.”
I have read from those who disagree with this sentiment but I totally agree that if our actions are contrary to our words we are seen as insincere and our preaching is hollow and empty.
In today’s digital world, leaders are closely scrutinized, and we can become cynical as what our leaders say can be drowned out by what they do.
Today we remember our founders and the saints of the past. What made these people great leaders and saints of the faith? What leadership practices are important in your faith community? What do you consider to be essential qualities, attitudes, and values for responsible leaders? We are called to act in ways that reveal the way of God, and Jesus’ ethical and egalitarian way of living. In worship, learning, and serving this week how might you honour everyone’s contribution that helps the community to grow in faith and humble service?
There is much to ponder and give thanks for.